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Browns reportedly offered Dez Bryant a deal he could refuse

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Despite all the hype, it appears the Browns are not going out of their way to give wide receiver a new home.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns and free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant have been linked for weeks now.

The hype surrounding Bryant and the Browns reached a peak this past week when Bryant’s visit was highlighted on the HBO series Hard Knocks, which milked the visit to the point that some fans were expecting a Bryant signing while the episode aired.

While it was not shown, the Browns did reportedly offer Bryant a contract, but it was one that the eight-year veteran had no trouble passing on, according to Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk:

Bryant is believed by some to be waiting for a better team. He also could be waiting for a better offer from the Browns. Per a league source, the Browns offered Bryant a deal with a base value of less than $5 million.

Bryant obviously turned the deal down, at least for now, as he continues to search for a deal that is likely never to materialize unless injury strikes and a team becomes desperate. The Browns are the only team that Bryant has visited since being released by the Dallas Cowboys in April, and he has only received one other contract offer, a reported three-year deal from the Baltimore Ravens in May.

Bryant’s production has fallen off the past few years as he has not posted a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2014. Last season he finished with 69 receptions for 838 yards, six touchdowns and an average of 12.1 yards per reception - all the lowest in Bryant’s career for a season where he played all 16 games.

The Browns mild interest in Bryant always seemed as if they were looking for an insurance policy in case wide receiver Josh Gordon decides to take another leave of absence from the team. But with the news that Gordon has now progressed to the point where he can participate in team walkthroughs - not practice or games, but just walking through the plays - it appears even less likely that there would be a spot for Bryant.

Perhaps know that Bryant knows how the Browns value him, this will be the end of this odd summer romance.